So here’s a thing.
Some lovely person nominated me for a MAD Blog Award, and I was a teensy tiny bit hopeful that I might make the shortlist.
But I didn’t.
And yet I am quietly relieved.
Sour grapes, you might think. But truth be told, I just don’t think blogging is my thing.
It used to be. When I first started blogging – from a corner-desk, precariously nestled in a nook of the hallway in a bijous flat we shared with a friend in Camden Town – I never dreamed that it might lead to anything.
But blogging saved my soul. It gave me a ‘voice’ when I went from ‘me’ to ‘Mama’ – a precious, faceless place to process the stuff of motherhood.
And blogging saved my sanity. At a juncture in life when the wheels fell off my world, albeit only for a time, my blog was my magnetic North – a fixed point of reference where I could write the things I couldn’t say for crying, and dig for the diamonds that I was sure were buried in the dust.
And then blogging helped my dreams come true. Feedback from friends and comments from perfect strangers conspired to make me realise that what I wanted – what I really, really wanted (zig-a-zig-ahh) – was to write. Properly. Beyond the cosy confines of my blog.
So I did. And now writing pays the rent – and that’s a dream come true.
But it doesn’t leave much place for blogging. And though I want to keep this space up, I can’t figure out what to do with it.
Blogging about our family life feels intrusive now. Intimacy and privacy are important to me – all the more so because I sometimes write about elements of our lives in newspapers and magazines. But there are firm boundaries to that, and it compels me to keep something back that’s just for us. The things that don’t appear on the printed page belong to a sacred space; they’re just not fodder for a blog.
And yet writing impersonal, newsy parenting stuff just bores me silly. Who cares what I, and scores of other bloggers, think about the same stories we’ve all read that day? Yawn.
Still – not becoming an award-winning blogger has come as something of a relief. I feel I’m off the hook. The pressure to post regularly or maintain a consistent ‘tone’ has gone. I can blog or not, it doesn’t matter. I don’t need to keep up some sort of standard in order to feel worthy of your vote.
So you could say that ‘losing’ in this way has brought me freedom. And the freedom to ditch the blog has helped me see that I do want to blog after all.
If, after a long day juggling deadlines, nurturing ideas and co-ercing children into small acts of obedience, I still make time to blog, then I want to focus on the things that breathe wind into my sails.
A blogger whom I admire beyond words says this by way of explanation for why she blogs:
“I hope to inspire and if I do, it is only because I am connected through a creative circuit to the constant flow of energy I draw from others who are far more amazing than me.”
I can’t be the only person who pushes back their chair on reading that – inhales deeply – and feels the compulsion to applaud.
That’s the kind of blog I want to read, and I want to blog about that kind of creative inspiration, anywhere and everywhere I find it.